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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27424
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I am a little terrified at the moment. I recently got a call

Customer Question

Hi. So, I am a little terrified at the moment. I recently got a call from a detective letting me know he was conducting an investigation on behalf of my previous employer. The investigation is regarding a company credit card I had while I was employed, and apparently there are charges on the card my company believes were personal. I haven't had a chance to see the bill yet, but it very well may be that I used the company card accidentally (either by Apple Pay or simply pulling out the wrong card without thinking). Apparently, there is a chance that I misused my Square reader (I wasn't exactly sure how they worked) and had payments go from my company card to my Square account. I don't know, but I'm afraid what the consequences would be in the worst case scenario. From what I've heard, it amounts to charges over $5k, which puts this well into Felony territory in MN (where I live). I just read that this would mean a one year minimum in jail?! I have never been convicted of anything in my life, and am terrified that this has the potential to ruin my future. I have not been to the detective yet to give my official statement. What should I do? And how likely is it that someone like me could actually spend a year in jail?! Please advise.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
The first thing you should do is NOT to make an official statement to the detective. The ONLY way a suspect should EVER talk to the police about an incident for which they want to charge him is with a lawyer. And frankly, since a suspect can almost never help himself at such a meeting and can only make statements which can be twisted and used against him, he will have a tough time finding a lawyer who will want to go.
Generally, when police contact a suspect and ask them to come in and talk it's because they do NOT have enough information to arrest them. They are hoping that if they can get you in there, you'll give them what they need to make the arrest. Police are skillful trained interrogators. They know how to twist your words, trap you into admissions, and get what they need you to say so that they can charge you with this crime.
You do not have to talk to the police under these circumstances. Your right to refuse to be interrogated is guaranteed by the Constitution. The police may not be happy with that, but they can NEVER use what you won't say against you, because it is your right. The second you give up that right is when they can use anything you say against you.
So what you should do regarding the police is to refrain from talking to them about this incident at all. Do not contact them. If they contact you just tell them that you are waiting to hear from a lawyer and your lawyer will call them.
There's nothing for a lawyer to do right now, as you haven't been charged, but it is a good time to get some names and have a consultation so that if the worst case scenario does occur, you have someone you can hire who can step right in and already be up to speed.
As for prison, yes, the statute allows for it, but on theft offenses of this sort on a first arrest, jail is so unlikely as to be almost unheard of unless you fight the case all the way to trial and lose. If you wanted an offer, in my experience the standard plea offer would be probation with restitution to the complainant.
So don't panic, because you're not going to jail and they may not even have what enough to arrest you. Keep your cool now and remember your right to remain silent. Exercise that by not talking about this incident with anyone other than the person you will choose as your lawyer. And start looking for a local criminal lawyer.
You don't need to retain him now. You just want to find someone you trust if you need him. If you're not sure where to look, contact the Minnesota State Bar Association's Lawyer REferral Service, and they will find you one for a $50 referral fee which includes a free half hour consultation with the lawyer.